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Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Cytomegalovirus (sy toe MEG a low vy rus), or CMV, is a common virus that infects people of all ages. Most people become infected with CMV during their lifetimes. CMV is the most common infectious cause of birth defects in the United States. Congenital CMV is the most common cause of non-hereditary hearing loss.

Overview Cytomegalovirus and Congenital CMV Infection

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is common

  • CMV is of the herpes family and is a common, usually harmless, lifelong virus and transmitted from person to person through direct contact with body fluids (urine, saliva, blood, breast milk, and semen).
  • CMV infection causes cold-like symptoms, such as a sore throat, fever, fatigue and swollen glands.
  • Up to 70% of healthy children ages 1 to 3 are exposed to CMV, with the majority of these children being asymptomatic.
  • Young children ages 1 and 2 are common carriers of the virus that maybe contagious to parents, peers and pregnant women.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in pregnant women is serious

  • One out of every 150 babies are born with congenital CMV (cCMV), with one in five becoming ill or having long-term health problems.
  • Leading cause of sensorineural hearing loss, vision loss, intellectual disability, impaired motor function and seizures.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is preventable

The best way to protect your baby from CMV is to protect yourself.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds, especially after:

  • Changing diapers
  • Feeding a young child
  • Wiping a young child’s nose or mouth
  • Handling children’s toys
  • Don’t share food, drinks, eating utensils, or a toothbrush with a child.
  • Do not put a child’s pacifier in your mouth.
  • Avoid contact with a child’s saliva when kissing or snuggling.
  • Clean toys, countertops, and other surfaces that come into contact with children’s urine or saliva.
  •  Children should be told not to share their cups and utensils.
  •  Pregnant women who work with young children, such as day care workers or health care workers, should take extra steps to prevent infection such as   wearing gloves when changing diapers.

For more information on CMV, please visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for parent and professional resources:

National CMV information and resource center

Additional Information For Professionals:

Print and/or Share these Michigan CMV Brochures:

Target Audience:

Any women considering getting pregnant or pregnant.

Any parent of a child diagnosed with CMV

Gabbie CMV story